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strategic thinking in digital marketing


Strategic thinking entails long-term planning. This entails devising techniques and conjuring concepts that can adapt to changing circumstances.


Independent homewares retailer Dowsing & Reynolds (D&R) is based in Leeds. 

A year and a half after establishing themselves as an eBay and Amazon retailer, the company launched its own e-commerce site in 2013. 

In 2019, they opened their first bricks-and-mortar store in Leeds Victoria Quarter after a year of steady growth. 

In 2020, D&R is expected to generate a turnover of approximately £4.6 GBP million and employ approximately 53 people at its head office and retail store (Bdaily, 2020).


Garden and outdoor living, home improvement, and homewares made up the majority of the £25.5 billion UK home and garden industry in 2018. (MarketLine, 2020). 

D&R is one of three companies that operate in the homewares sector, the largest one with a share of the market worth of 52.4%. (MarketLine, 2020)

Strategy Formulation

Strategic assumptions form “an identical, underlying foundation for the strategic plan. 

They underpin  everything contained therein – and hence reflect the vision, strategic map, 

It is assumed that:

  1. Uncertainty around restrictions on retail will continue throughout 2021, further driving the growth of shopping for the home online.
  2. D&R have 10,000 one-time buyers and 7,000 of these are opted in for email marketing. 
  3. D&Rs average order value is £125.

Marketing Strategies and Objectives

 Strategic Decision Making

Strategic marketing decisions can be viewed as the marketing decisions an organisation.

makes that  are of consequence to its long-term performance (Varadarajan, 2010). 

Marketing decisions specify the marketing actions, activities or behaviours to engage 

within the marketplace and are related to  building competitive advantage (Varadarajan, 2010).

It is a 2×2 grid that considers 4 main growth strategies: market penetration, market  development, product development and diversification.

For D&Rs business growth the market penetration strategy will be adopted. 

Targeting & Objective Setting

Concentrated target marketing is “when an organisation directs its marketing efforts towards 

a single  market segment by creating and maintaining one marketing mix” (Dibb 2012, p.240). 

It allows  organisations to specialise in the characteristics of a consumer group and focus efforts on satisfying  those needs (Dibb, 2012). 

 D&R will develop a concentrated targeted approach that  focuses on the sale 

of lighting products to consumers in London and increasing customer retention.

To achieve this, objectives must be set. 

Objectives translate the marketing strategy into actions, “an  objective is what you want to achieve. 

A strategy is how you plan to achieve your objective” (McDonald & Wilson, 2016, p.62). 

All objectives should be SMART objectives to provide the ability to  track and measure success.

SMART objectives are specific, measurable, actionable, relevant and time related (Chaffey & Chadwick, 2019).

The following SMART objectives have been identified for D&Rs at an SBU level to achieve the  concentrated targeted market penetration strategy:

  1. Increase online sales of lighting products amongst London consumers by 30% within 24 months.
  2. Increase social audience following amongst London consumers by 15% within 12 months. 
  3. Convert 10% of one-time customers into repeat purchasers within 12 months.

Tactical Implementation

7.1 RACE Framework

A customer journey consists of a series of mental stages that customers experience throughout the  purchase decision-making process, from recognizing the need to purchase through to post-purchase  evaluation. 

The top of the funnel represents consumers who are  further away from purchasing, 

Throughout marketing history there have been many variations of the  conversion funnel, 

The RACE framework (appendix b) consists of four steps Reach, Act, Convert,  engage and is designed to help brands engage with their customers throughout the customer  lifecycle (Chaffey & Smith 2017).

The audit identified requirements for D&R to increase their organic search visibility. 

As well as identifying the need to combat the threat of new entrants through increasing their social audience, for these reasons, the Reach stage will be addressed in detail. 

Secondly, the targeting section identified the importance of repeat purchasers, for this reason the  Engage stage will be addressed in detail. 

Engage marketing relates to consumers within the Advocacy stage of the buying cycle and aids to build a deeper customer relationship, 

For D&R to achieve their objectives of increasing online lighting sales and increasing social media  audience, 

During this stage consumers are aware of a particular lighting need and explore suitable brands to fulfil that need.

Consumers in the B2C context now expect a  multichannel approach (Weinberg et. al, 2007) 

therefore D&R must be visible to consumers across  organic search as well as social media.

During the Engage stage, communication from a brand continues beyond purchase, in the belief that  every time the customer becomes aware of a purchasing need, the brand is front of mind. 

Reach – SEO

Reach is at the top of the funnel, 

therefore representing consumers who are far away from purchase  (Sellers, 2020) 

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is  “persuading search engines such as Google to recommend your content to their users as the best  solution to their problem” (Barnard, 2020). 

Organic traffic is a form of earned media, the aim is to  secure high volume, unpaid, 

genuinely interested (‘quality’) traffic (Moz, n.d). D&R will use SEO.

Reach level to increase search visibility and ensure customers in this stage are aware of D&R as a  potential solution to their purchase needs.

As seen in Appendix C, organic search is the most used channel for consumers in the home and  a hardened market and therefore essential for D&R. 

The chart identifies that D&R secure c.30% of traffic  from organic search, 

but shows the industry benchmark as 50%, highlighting a gap of 20%. 

To bridge this gap and secure more traffic from organic search, 

D&R must increase their organic search visibility which is “an indicator of how visible a website is

in the organic search results when queries are  entered into search engines” (Searchmetrics, n.d).

Google dominates search in most countries – in English, 

88% of desktop searches and 96% of mobile  searches are made through Google (Barnard, 2020),making it the most important search engine for D&R to focus on.

To increase search visibility, domain’s URLs must rank higher up the search results list (Searchmetrics, n.d), only 0.78% of Google searches clicked on something from the second page making page 1 rankings crucial for reaching customers in the exploration stage of the buying cycle.

For that reason, D&R need to improve the number of lighting related keywords.

They rank for Page 1 of Google which can be achieved through optimising the keywords that already drive the most traffic to the site.

KPIs, Expected Results and Measuring Success

KPI: increase the number of page 1 rankings for lighting terms on Google by 50% in 6 months and 100% in  12 months.

KPI: increase organic traffic by 10% in 6 months and 20% in 12 months.

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